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Steve Schale: Notes on the second day of early voting in Florida

*Written before coffee, so please forgive any clear lack of English language skills.

Like most Americans who also are White Sox fans, I am struggling to decide which is better, stubbing my toe (Cubs) or bumping my head (Indians). So let’s look at something more desirable than this World Series: The 2016 Campaign for President.

Day 2 of in-person early voting in Florida brought more of the same from Day 1. And again, there really isn’t a single indicator any rational observer (note, not Donald Trump) would argue is anything but good news for the Democrats.

First, Day 2 saw just shy of 294,000 vote in-person early, which combined means 585,000 have voted in-person early so far — and over 2 million people have voted total. This is roughly 22 percent of what we can expect turnout to be this year. After just two days, in-person early vote accounts for nearly 30 percent of all the ballots cast to date.

Democrats won Day 2 of early voting by about 6,600 votes (numbers change some during the day). Democrats were down about 10K, and Republicans up about 7K, and Republicans have a narrow 5,700-vote lead in vote by mail/early vote combined (0.2 percent). So go vote, Democrats!

And, for my friend Mac Stipanovich, about 53K NPA voted early yesterday — up from Monday, and they made up about 18 percent of all voters.

Out of the 2 million votes so far, the percentages are roughly 41R-41D-18 NPA. Personally, I like where that is headed.

Here are a few highlights:

Bellwethers:

Hillsborough County — The only county in Florida to vote for Obama twice and Bush twice, saw over 18,000 in-person votes for the second straight day. Democrats increased their early vote lead to more than 4,000 votes, and their total early/vote-by-mail lead to over 10,000 votes. The Democratic lead for total early/VBM votes is about 7.3 percent.

I-4 Corridor — Democrats won every county on Interstate 4, except Seminole County (we can’t expect to win a county so Republican you have to go back to Truman to find a Democrat who carried it). Overall for the day, Democrats won 45-35.

Base Democratic Counties:

The five major Democratic counties — Broward, Dade, Palm Beach, Osceola, and Orange — all basically matched their Day 1 turnout. Robust remains the best way to describe turnout.

Here are a few counties:

Broward: (60D-21R), +11,987 for Day 2.

Dade: (48D-29R) +6,600 for Day 2.

Orange: (50D-29R) +3,665 for Day 2

And lastly, my favorite place right now, Republican Duval County. Over the last two elections, Barack Obama was able to keep the Duval margins manageable, averaging losses of about 10,000 votes. By comparison, Bush won the county by 61,000 in 2004, a number Trump will need to get closer to if he’s going to win Florida.

Well, right now, Republicans are doing about as well in Duval as the Jaguars. Democrats won the second consecutive day of in-person early voting, and now only trail Republicans in total VBM/EV by about 440 votes. Even more ominous: it only took two days for total in-person early voting to overtake two weeks of vote-by-mail returns.

A couple of final points:

Between VBM returns and EV, Day 2 was pretty much a wash. I don’t know that much significant will change until the first weekend. By comparison, in 2008, which also had 15 days of EV (in 2012, first day of EV was on a Saturday), D’s are well ahead of pace. D’s also are ahead of where we were on this day of the election in 2012.

I don’t have access this early to some of the breakdowns based on ethnicity and voting behavior, and I will send around some data later (or watch my Twitter), but here were a few things from Day 1:

Black voters (in Florida, that is both African-American and Caribbean) made up about 15 percent of all first-day early voters.

Hispanic voters were about 13 percent, and non-Hispanic white about 67 percent.

Based on these numbers, I would project we are headed towards an electorate that is more diverse than 2012.

Also, here’s one more for you: among first day of early-voting Democratic and NPA Hispanics, 44 percent were either first-time voters, or only voting in their second-ever general election.  In other words, these voters are expanding the electorate.

Overall, after Day 1 (again I will update these later), of the roughly 1.6 million ballots cast, 79 percent of Republican votes came from the most likely of voters, compared to 73 percent of Democratic votes.  In other words, a larger share of the Democratic turnout has been from new voters, and infrequent voters.

Notably, we are seeing an even larger share of the Democratic vote in Dade County coming from first-time and infrequent voters.  This suggests the Democratic coalition is coming together nicely.

I will continue to update data throughout the day, as I find things interesting. If you have questions, please email or call me.  I am doing my best to get through calls, and will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

Unless you are an internet troll. In that case, call another Florida hack!

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